First of all, there's no doubt in my mind that Peterhead deserved to win that game - and if we'd somehow escaped with a point it would've been a real travesty. It wasn't that the Blue Toon were fantastic, but they put plenty of balls into the area which they somehow managed to convert, blazed the penalty and had us constantly under the cosh in the second-half. Steven Boyd looked a real livewire (as per) and getting that sort of performance consistently from him could be huge between now and the end of the season.
On our part, aside from an early Joe McKee shot and a real nice move that opened up space for PJ Crossan, only for him to fluff his shot, we didn't ever really create chances. Add to that the concession of another late goal (82' minutes after 89' against Stranraer, 87' against Falkirk and 86' against Aberdeen) and it's clear that our depleted squad is causing huge, huge issues. Put simply, we will not win another game this season without additions.
Duffy lined up with what looked a bit like an asymmetrical 4-4-2. The back four picks itself, Joe McKee and Stuart Carswell were together in central-midfield, with Langan sort of to the right of them but not on the wing, and Crossan as a more conventional winger on the left. Stefan McCluskey and Ryan Tierney were together up front.
Now a mixture between that formation and the lack of Kyle Hutton meant that we won next to nothing in the midfield and seriously struggled to keep the ball. Aside from when Joe McKee had possession we launched balls at the front two - and neither of them can play like that. Tierney's touch, link-up play and hold-up was fine, but he's slow and launching balls in behind for him was pointless. McCluskey has the pace to get to the balls and then, as happened a few times, takes three touches to try and control it and runs out of play or is challenged. I doubt the Peterhead defence will have an easier shift all season.
It says a lot that we hooked Tierney and pretty soon after launched McGeever up top. Layne might've scored a decent number of goals but we can't rely on his return to solve our issues either given he's injury prone, flicks in and out of form and has only this season shown his worth in front of goal. We need someone else...and if Tierney leaves then that should be two players. Starting the campaign with two out-and-out strikers in the squad was a disaster waiting to happen.
Brennan made a mistake for the goal, parrying the ball directly into his area, and that combined with a lack of cutting edge going forward is a big issue.
What do I think we need to do? Well I think we need a winger and a striker at the very minimum, then we need to hope we don't lose any big players to injury. Ideally we'd add a couple more, but that seems unlikely - and it's frustrating seeing the good work from August and December being undone by a woeful January.
Losing Scullion isn't a big blow, but he's a better option than Stefan McCluskey and I don't think Callum Wilson looks like a winger at all so we need someone out there.
If we can end January able to name a team like this I think I'll be a wee bit more positive.
Sam Wardrop Ryan McGeever Morgyn Neill Rico Quitongo
Kyle Hutton Ruaridh Langan
PJ Crossan Joe McKee New Winger
Jai Quitongo/New Striker
If we add one reserve league player on loan from Morton this week then I really fear for the rest of the season.